Cost Accounting in Local Government

Service Fees

Next Steps After a Fee Update

What should a City do after completing a Fee Study and before the next Fee Study

Fee Increases in Between Cost Studies

When I first started doing Cost Studies, cities were unlikely to know the cost of their services let alone charge what the services cost. The most common approach, when fee increases were considered necessary, was to compare the city’s fees with neighboring cities, which I called the “blind leading the blind” update. Later, as cost […]

Are Credit Card Processing Fees for You?

For many years the credit card industry vigorously fought against any effort to charge a processing fee to use a credit card.  Credit card companies fought the same battles against processing fees charged by government as they did against private businesses.  But as more and more government agencies started accepting credit cards for payment for […]

Available versus Billable Hours – Redux

Nine years ago, I wrote the following article. Since the concepts are just as relevant today, I’m reprinting it with some editorial changes to make it more current. Enjoy… On page 31 of the League of California Cities publication “Cost Accounting for California Cities (1981),” we (I was one of the authors) proposed an early […]

What is required to set fees?

It is generally understood that you need a resolution at a public hearing to set fees.  But is that correct?  It turns out that is not entirely true. For development-related fees, Government Code Section 66016 and following sections make it clear that you do need a public hearing.  In addition, this code section has the […]

Charging a Utility Encroachment Permit

Every so often I’ll hear about Edison or the Gas Company telling a City that they cannot be charged an encroachment permit to plan check and inspect a street cut under the franchise agreement.  They will then hope that you blink and reduce or eliminate the fee. But recently, I was told that they cited […]

Giving Proper Respect to Proposition 4

Proposition 4 in California in 1979

The Legacy of Fads

The Legacy of Fads in municipal budgeting

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